I don’t agree with Ramesh that Hastert was “negligent.” I take it that Ramesh thinks the Speaker should have ordered a full investigation based on information about the e-mails and “open secrets.” My understanding was that the open-secret was that Foley was gay, not that he was hitting on pages.
I think Hastert responded as most reasonable people would have in his position. He ordered his lieutenants to tell Foley to stop communicating with the ex-page. He took commensurate action with the information he had. To say that he, as others might, would have had more information had he ordered a full investigation (whatever that means) is to expand the definition of negligent to virtually all circumstances where a full investigation is not launched. The mind can runaway with examples of circumstances that are one hypothetical away from a crisis. I not only believe he was reasonable in his response, I believe the characterization of his conduct is unfair.
And that’s where the comparison to past Democrat responses is relevant. The same party that refused to force Gerry Studds and Barney Frank from office is now condemning Hastert’s reasonable response, including his insistence that Foley resign once he did learn about the instant messages. And it’s also relevant to raise past Democrat responses in addressing Hastert’s conduct on this forum. I don’t recall a single conservative demanding Tip O’Neill’s resignation over the Studds or Frank scandals. And to say, as some have, that we are better than the liberals, is no response. In the matters of Studds and Franks, it’s conservatives who didn’t demand O’Neill’s resignation.
And Andy’s excellent post makes clear that defending Hastert’s conduct in dealing with Foley, and criticizing the Democrats’ conduct in defending Clinton are two completely different matters. The “hypocrisy” label so many conservatives fear is simply not applicable here — unless, of course, you’re defending Clinton’s (the malefactor) perverse and illegal conduct with Hastert’s reasonable response to Foley (the malefactor). How can anyone defend Clinton’s conduct (along history of physically abusing women) yet condemn Foley’s (grotesque) communications? We conservatives condemn both malefactors. There is no hypocrisy.